Celebrating our PSWs, including a dedicated team in Sarnia Lambton

A photo of 4 PSWs standing and smiling in their blue attire

In Ontario, we celebrate Personal Support Worker (PSW) Day every year on May 19th. Over one-third of PSWs in Ontario work in the home and community care sector, and VON is proud to employ some of the best in the province. They provide essential services that support people to live in their own homes, reducing the need for hospital care, emergency room visits and long-term care.

Recently, family members of a palliative care client wrote to express their gratitude to the PSW team in Sarnia Lambton for the outstanding care they provided prior to the death of their loved one, Origene Villeneuve. Origene, who served with the Van Doos in the Canadian military and was a member of the Ottawa Police Force, passed away at the age of 96 in February.

“Our family would like to express our thanks to VON Sarnia Lambton for the care provided to our father from the PSWs,” wrote Jean-Marc, Carol and Jessie. “We would especially like to personally thank Karen, Sydney, Beth and Candy.”

Of PSW Karen Baxter, they wrote, “We hope God blesses you a thousand times for how much you care for your patients. You are doing this not just because it’s your job but because you are committed to helping others, even those you don’t know. Our family will never forget the love and help you’ve shown us.”

Of PSW Sydney Taylor, they wrote, “We know you are devastated by the death of Gene because we saw how much you cared and loved him like your own. But we want to thank you for the hard work you put in to make sure he was always comfortable and happy until his last breath. Thank you so much and the family will never forget all your efforts and the love you made everyone feel.”

They noted that PSW Beth Steadman is “such a compassionate person.” They wrote, “The way you cared for Gene was beyond what anyone could have ever done for him. We appreciate you and would like to say thank you from the bottom of our hearts.”

PSW Candice Lumley was his first PSW when he began receiving VON services, and the last one to see Gene before he passed. “We will never forget how much help you’ve given not just to Gene but our whole family,” they wrote. “I hope that you will be blessed with all the good things in life. Thank you so much.”

The family noted that all of the team members showed tenderness and sensitivity, and provided comfort, insights, knowledge and emotional support to the entire family.

Stephanie Brown, Manager of Home and Community Care (Home Support & Occupational Therapy), says the PSWs are a close-knit team. “This is a testament to the way they collaborate to deliver this kind of excellent care,” she says. Although each PSW is in the home at a different time, they regularly keep in touch in order to provide strong, client-centred care.

“With palliative care, care is for the whole family, it’s not just for the client,” Stephanie says. “It’s helping them with what needs to be done, according to the client’s care plan, and supporting the family so they can spend quality time with their loved one. The PSWs also answer questions so the family knows what to expect. Our PSWs are very knowledgeable on end-of-life care.”

The Villeneuve family concluded their letter:
“Watching someone you love make the transition out of this life is a really difficult thing, and the wisdom and comfort these four women provided helped us navigate this challenging time. Thank you so much for all the services and support that were provided to our family.”